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Erdogan’s march to one-man power

A few years ago, three powerful men — Erdogan, Gulen and Ocalan — had a say in Turkey’s future, but now Erdogan has emerged as "the man” charting the country’s course.
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In a March 12, 2013, article for Al-Monitor, I wrote, “Turkey’s future is to be decided by the nation's three most powerful men, by the equilibrium they shape among themselves and by deals they forge with each other.” The three powerful men at the time were then-Prime Minister and Justice and Development Party (AKP) Chairman Recep Tayyip Erdogan; the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) jailed founding leader, Abdullah Ocalan; and Islamic preacher Fethullah Gulen, the head of the Hizmet Movement or “the Community,” who lives in self-exile in the United States.

The three men owed their power to a number of common characteristics. They all wielded enormous clout and charisma over their followers, had extraordinary organizational talents and entertained distinct visions for the future and projects for an alternative society. Their interactions, I argued, would determine Turkey's course.

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